AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
PARIS: Maria Sharapova swept past Italy’s Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 on today to win a first French Open title and complete career Grand Slam.
The Russian star, who had already been assured of returning to the world No 1 spot by reaching her first Roland Garros final, had too much firepower for the pint-sized Italian. Victory represented Sharapova’s fourth Grand Slam title after her breakthrough 2004 Wimbledon win, US Open in 2006 and 2008 Australian Open.
Sharapova stormed into a 4-0 lead in the first set as 21st seed Errani was paralysed by stagefright on her Grand Slam final debut. But she clawed her way onto the scoreboard to get to 2-4, before the Russian went to 5-2.
Errani saved two set points in the eighth game, but a big backhand down the line secured the opener for Sharapova at 6-3. The Italian had knocked out former champions Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova on her way to the final, but was being over-powered by the Russian who stands an imposing 24cm taller than her.
In the first set, she hit just three winners to Sharapova’s 12. Sharapova was quickly 2-0 up in the second set and another break soon after took her to 4-1. Errani bravely stopped the rot, mixing up her game to retrieve a break before handing it straight back to the iron-willed Sharapova for 5-2.
Sharapova saw two match points saved by a pair of exquisite Errani drop shots. But victory was hers when Errani netted a return, ending the 90-minute final.